First record about Porkhov fortress was made in Novgorod's chronicles in 1239. Knight of Novgorod Alexander Jaroslavovitch ('Nevsky') established the trade way along Shelonj river from Novgorod to Pskov by building of small wooden strong points. Porkhov fortress was one of them. Its fortifications consisted two lines of earthen ramparts and ditches and wooden wall above the ramparts.
In 1346 Great Lithuanian knight Olgerd invaded the Novgorod's territory and took by storm fortress Luga and Shelonj and sieged fortress Opocka and Porkhov. Porkhov stood it's first test. Lithuanians got the war indemnity in 300 rubles from the fortress and got away. In 1387 new stone fortress was erected on the right bank of Shelonj river. The fortress had four towers. Towers had 15-17 meters height and 4-6 wooden levels and walls had 1.4-2 meters thick and 7 meters height. The towers pushed out from the wall's line and could flanked the approaches to the walls. All building works were finished within a year.
July 1428 Lithuanian knight Vitovt besieged the fortress. It was the first siege in Russia with mass artillery shelling. The fruitless siege endured 8 days and fortress was badly damaged. In 1430 the big reconstruction was in the fortress. Thick of it's walls was increased considerably up to 4.5 meters at the most dangerous parts. The gates of the fortress were reconstructed too - the portcullis were arranged.
After seizing the Novgorod and Pskov territories by Moscow in 1478 and 1510 the state border was moved to the west far from the fortress. There were not any storms and sieges of Porkhov from this time. It's fortifications lost it's value soon and preserved till nowadays not disturbed by later rebuilding and reconstructions.
The trade city appeared near to the fortress. In 1776 it became the area administrative center. Rapid city growth begun in 1890s after the railway Pskov-Dno was built. The fortress ruined gradually as long as some repair works were held in 1912.
During the WWII Porkhov fell under German occupation for 4 years. Nikolskaya church in the fortress was in action during the war. It's abbot father Pavel was linked with partisans and provided shelter for escapees from German POW camps. February, 1944 German troops burnt the city and gone away.
Now Porkhov is one of the small Russian provincial cities. There few old city buildings preserves. The fortress is restored partly. The wall along river bank is reconstructed and could be observed, but towers are still in the ruined condition without roofs and floors and could be visited only by your own risk. There are the little local museum and nice botanic garden inside of the fortress. Nikolskaya church which was closed in 1930-th is on the duty now.References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.